at the begining of his term, Laird made it known that he would only serve four years as the secretary of defense. on January 29, 1973 he was succeeded by Elliot L. Richardson.
notable events within Laird's position as secretary of defense include his policy called "vietnamization" whereby the south vietnamese military forces were expanded and trained while the number of US soldiers in vietnam was reduced. the combat death rate of american soldiers declined about 95% as a result of this program.
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